The Future of Document Management

The Future of DMS | Legal Document Management

When I think about the future of document management, I think “NetDocuments.” I think about innovation and fulfilling the needs and requests of practicing lawyers.  Because NetDocuments is already a pure cloud-based platform, instead of spending millions of dollars on modernizing their technology, they can spend those resources on exciting and innovative features.  What does that look like?

From a 30,000 ft view, I view their focus to be on building an ecosystem to do work more efficiently and securely.  They are more about where you work, as opposed to where you just save documents.  Let me give you just a few exciting examples about what is on the horizon for you:

    1. ndThread. Already available, this technology is incredibly forward-thinking on the part of NetDocuments.  Instead of having communication about matters and documents scattered all over the place (email, text messaging, etc.), that communication can occur within ndThread.  One can see the entire communication thread in one spot, saved within the workspace.  Furthermore, we don’t have to rely on clunky methods to export instant messages on smartphones and taking the second step of saving them into NetDocuments.  The conversation starts in NetDocuments and stays in NetDocuments.  This will also significantly reduce the number of emails in your Inbox!
    2. SetBuilder. Also already available, SetBuilder is an add-in feature to NetDocuments that streamlines the process of gathering and organizing a set of documents (a Set). After creating a Set, it is possible to combine all the documents in the Set into a single, hyperlinked PDF file, ready for digital distribution. A Set can be created from scratch or cloned from a previously created Set. SetBuilder also tracks the status of every Set and provides quick access to a library of previously finalized Sets.  This will be an incredibly valuable tool for transactional work!
    3. CollabSpaces. Released earlier this year, a CollabSpace is layered directly into the NetDocuments platform. CollabSpaces provide the ability to securely share files outside of the organization without the need to maintain a second system.  This is the evolution of NetDocument’s previous solution called ShareSpaces.
    4. Tasks. Since so much work centers around tasks within a matter or about a document, why house tasks in a completely different independent system?  Furthermore, wouldn’t it be nice to see what tasks other team members have related to a matter or documents(s)?  Tasks will hopefully be released sometime in 2020.
    5. Smartview. NetDocuments is very close to releasing their new embedded previewer that allows layering conversations and annotations without even having to download and open the document.  The previewer is also significantly better than the current previewer for just simple previewing of a document.
    6. eSign. Digital cryptographic signatures are soon to be mandatory in all practices.  Creating an easy way to sign documents within the NetDocuments ecosystem is critical.  We are hoping that this solution will be available early 2021, or sooner.
    7. ndMail Office 365 Integration.  NetDocuments has already built direct integration with Office 365, as opposed to just focusing on Outlook add-ins.  This vastly improves the speed of Outlook.  It also opens the door to access and save documents from MS Office Online, mobile solutions, and yes a Mac! … as well as data moving within the MS Exchange level instead of from the workstation.  Some of this is already available, and it continues to evolve.

Finally, let’s not ever forget about world-class security (See this).  NetDocuments has a list of security certifications longer than the receipts you get from the CVS Pharmacy!  On the immediate horizon is FedRamp and DFARS compliancy.  Maybe we’ll be seeing NetDocuments used in NASA spaceships, space stations or by the new U.S. Space Force?!  Exciting times.

For more information about where document management is going in the future or how NetDocuments can be a part of your future, contact the Document Management Team at Affinity by calling 877-676-5492, or simply request a consultation. 


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Paul Unger

Written by Paul Unger

Paul is an Affinity Partner and law practice consultant with a passion for teaching attorneys how to use technology and how to automate their practice. He teaches and coaches lawyers how to be more efficient with time, task, document & email management, and just as important, distraction management by offering customized time management workshops for lawyers and their staff throughout North America. He helped modernize the use of courtroom technology and is an expert in paperless office strategies and document management. He is also an author of numerous books, manuals, and articles. Paul is a national speaker and frequent lecturer for CLE programs.

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